Mike Thibault was smiling broadly when he left the floor Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena after his Washington Mystics defeated those who once were his – the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
In his first trip back since his November dismissal, Thibualt’s team rebounded from a 60-51 deficit with 6 minutes, 27 seconds to play by holding the Sun to just two points.
Washington’s 66-62 win naturally made his happy. And the same could be said for his team.
“It affected us a lot,” Mystics guard Ivory Latta said. “We really wanted to come into this game and get him this win. We knew it was going to take everybody. We knew it was going to take this whole team to play hard to get this win. We’re so happy that we got this win for him.”
Stefanie Dolson has always managed to keep things light-hearted and positive. When you see the UConn center, she is usually smiling about something, a wonderful trait to have when just 21 years old and so much is expected from you.
This summer, she has many reasons to be happy.
Dolson, an All-American center for the Huskies’ eight-time national champion, will be one of UConn’s two seniors next seasons. And she is finally healthy after playing through two painful injuries in the second half of the 2012-13 season.
But there’s more to it now. Dolson is spending six weeks this summer with one of her sisters, Courtney, a marketing rep for a big-time international fashion designer, living on the east side of Manhattan. Stefanie Dolson is working as an intern with SNY, the cable network home of the New York Mets and the UConn women.
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Already without Renee Montgomery for at least three weeks (high ankle sprain) the Connecticut Sun received more bad news on Wednesday when it was announced that veteran Tan White will miss about the same amount of time with a broken finger.
White injured her in right hand in practice on Tuesday and suddenly the Sun roster is down to nine players. League rules do not allow teams to replace injured players unless someone else is cut or released. Provisions are made only if the team losses another player and has only eight available.
White, in her fifth season in Connecticut, has played 42 minutes in three games for the Sun this season. She has scored 14 points, with six assists and five rebounds in those three games.
Sun coach Anne Donovan now has just five guards; starters Kara Lawson and Allie Hightower and reserves Kalana Greene, Natasha Lacy and Kelly Faris, the first-round pick from UConn. Both Lacy and Faris have played limited minutes in the first three games but will now be depended on to a great extent until Montgomery and White return
Connecticut hosts the Washington Mystics – and former coach Mike Thibault – Friday at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.
UConn women’s basketball team will play Duke in the 2013 Jimmy V. Women’s Basketball Classic on December 17 at 7 p.m. The game will be on ESPN2. This is the sixth time that the Huskies will compete in the showcase. The Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Classics conclude the seventh annual Jimmy V Week, a weeklong initiative to help raise funds for cancer research. In six years, Jimmy V Week has generated $6,761,437 in total contributions for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, including a record-setting number of $1,591,108 in 2013.
The Huskies, who will open the 2013-14 season at home against Stanford (TBA), are coming off their program-record eighth NCAA National Championship. Duke (33-3 in 2012-13) advanced to the Elite Eight after winning its eighth ACC Championship.
When Mike Thibault goes for a run these days his route is not lined by the vestiges of suburban life in East Lyme.
Now the road is paved with the kind of sightseeing only Washington, D.C., can provide.
“I can run by the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial,” Thibault said. “It’s a different routine and lifestyle.”
Last November, after 10 years as coach of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun – the longest tenure of a diverse career now in its fourth decade – Thibault was fired after his elimination from the Eastern Conference final in a deciding third game played at home.
Thibault’s ultimate scoreboard read like this: 10 years, no league championships.
One month later, he was hired to be the coach and general manager of the Washington Mystics, a once proud franchise weakened so badly that it won only 11 games over the last two seasons.
“Mike Thibault will, over time, make Washington a competitive team, if not this year, in the seasons to come,” said ESPN analyst Carolyn Peck.
As uplifting as their opening-night win over New York was, the Connecticut Sun realized a clearer picture would come during a trip to Chicago and Minnesota last weekend.
In front of partisan crowds during home openers, the Sun emerged with two defeats and the realization there is a lot of work to do.
And they now know it must be done without veteran guard Renee Montgomery for at least the next three weeks.
Montgomery, the former UConn All-American and the WNBA’s Sixth Woman of the Year in 2012, suffered a high ankle sprain in the first minute of the fourth quarter in Friday’s 86-75 loss in Chicago.
She was on crutches during Saturday’s 90-74 loss to the Lynx. And Monday an MRI revealed the serious nature of her injury.
The Connecticut Sun (1-2) are now dealing with their first major injury of the season.
Guard Renee Montgomery underwent an MRI Monday which confirmed she has suffered a left high ankle sprain. She is expected to be out three to four weeks.
Montgomery suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of a loss at Chicago on Friday night. She sat out the game at Minnesota the following night. She has played a total of 26 minutes in two games for the Sun this season, collecting eight points and three assists.
Connecticut hosts the Washington Mystics Friday at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Here is an update about former University of Hartford women’s basketball player Diana Delva. As you will see, there is much more going on with her than pursuing a professional career in the sport.
Check out the photos from cobrasports.com
Here is a great story from the Washington Post on former Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault, one of the nicest men in pro sports – or women’s basketball as a whole.
He is now the coach and GM of the Washington Mystics, who play at the casino on Friday night.
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